PEABODY — Tuxedos, ties, shorts, socks: You name it; they’ll take it. Middle school students across the state kicked off local clothing drives this week as part of Project 351, a community service and leadership project for eighth-graders. In Peabody, this year’s ambassadors are Jake Gustin and Ava Marotta, and they’re encouraging students and families at each of the city’s elementary schools to donate at least once over the next two weeks.
The school with the highest percentage of students participating in the drive will earn a free ice cream party, courtesy of Tom Gould and Treadwell’s Ice Cream. During Monday’s stop at Burke School, some first-graders asked Jake if they could donate tuxedos and ties, too. Their teacher also added another incentive to sweeten the pot: Everyone who brings in one item gets a day free from homework.
Higgins Principal Todd Bucey said last year’s clothing drive brought in the most clothes in the state. Boxes are placed at each school and the drive runs until April 10.
Thanks to community leaders
The highlight of the evening is the presentation of the Mary Upton Ferrin Award, which went to Heather Murray this year, but last night’s annual ceremony at City Hall with the Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce also recognizes business and community leaders for their efforts. This year’s Business Leadership Award went to Burtons Grill, the Desire King Award went to Karen Batchelder of Karen’s Ballroom Dancing & Fitness, and Community Spirit Awards were given to Susan Ring Brown, Joan Morrissey and Colleen Derrivan.
Light it up blue
If you missed the memo and were left wondering why the blue lights around the city were flashing all day yesterday, it was to show support for autism. Autism Awareness Day is April 2. The city joined with many other communities and businesses by “lighting it blue” from sunup to sundown.